Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 5, Episode 19 - The Fire

“The Fire”

First Script Read:  March 4, 1994
Filmed: March 7-8, 1994
Aired: 9:00pm, May 5, 1994
Nielsen rating: 19.3
Audience share: 30
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry Charles (last Seinfeld script)

Off goes Larry Charles to find glory (or at least a higher paycheck) as an executive producer of Mad about You. Next he produced the Dilbert animated series for UPN. Then he reconnected with Patrick Wharburton (well, actually Charles was gone by the time Wharburton started appearing as David Puddy on Seinfeld) to do the short-lived live action comic book TV series, The Tick, on Fox. He swung back in the right direction, in terms of cultural resonance at least, with a couple years as executive producer of Entourage (2004-05). After that he became Sacha Baron Cohen's preferred director in between his job as a producer and director for Curb Your Enthusiasm. I suspect "director of Borat" will appear higher than "producer and writer for the first half of Seinfeld's run" on his obituary, but what do you think? IMDb has Seinfeld first in his bio right now. Could go either way.

Unlike most of Seinfeld's writers to this point, Charles's had sprung from television writing rather than stand-up comedy. So its ironic that his final episode deals extensively with Jerry's experience with a heckler. Kramer brings the "full of life/full of something" Toby to see one of Jerry's acts, and Toby promptly boos the comedian in front of an important reviewer. Jerry then lives out the comedian's cliché and goes down to where she works (Pendant Publishing, with Elaine) to heckle her. 

Charles is more himself with George's storyline, which contains guns and violence. Without any explanation of how they met, George is dating a single mother, Robin. According to Jerry he gets along shockingly well with the child, although there is little visual evidence offered to the audience that this is true. At the child's birthday he gets into an argument with a party clown (Jon Favreau in a clown costume!) who has never heard of Bozo the Clown. Then he panics over a small kitchen fire and pushes children and grandmothers out of the way to get himself to safety. Somehow, he gets one more chance with Robin, but the same scenario repeats itself when Ronnie the prop comic pulls a fake gun, scaring George. Another relationship ends for George, and Larry Charles leaves Seinfeld, not with a bang, but with just a bit of smoke.

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